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Italy Receives 64 Expressions of Interest for Offshore Wind Farms

Italy proposals for offshore wind farms
(file photo)

Published Nov 19, 2021 5:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

Italy reported that it has received a broad range of interest with proposals for numerous projects in its first efforts to develop offshore wind farms along its coast. The Ministry of Ecological Transition reports that it is continuing its work aimed at encouraging the development of a new generation of floating offshore plants located off the Italian coast.

At the conclusion of the first round of meetings and call for submissions of interest, the ministry reports it has received 64 expressions of interest, of which 55 were from companies and business associations. In addition, three environmental protection associations, WWF, Legambiente, and Greenpeace, also participated in the discussions as well as seven other organizations and researchers representing interests in the electricity sector as well as development and research in the Adriatic and Mediterranean.

At least 20 of the expressions of interest proposed detailed projects, which in many cases involve floating plants located over 12 miles off the coast. In total, 40 floating offshore wind farm projects were examined, with more than 20 proposals mainly located off the coast of Sicily and Sardinia, an additional 10 for the Adriatic coast, and others distributed between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas.

Represented among the companies expressing interest were many of the leading international companies in the sector as well as industrial companies from Italy. Among the companies cited were DEME, ERG, RWE, Saipem, and EDF as well as Italian companies Fincantieri, Eni, and RINA.

Italy has been moving aggressively to lay the groundwork for the development of its offshore energy sector. In February, Italy’s Premier Mario Draghi created a new cabinet level minister naming physicist Roberto Cingolani to the role. The ministry is focused on the country’s sustainability policies and many of the responsibilities for energy policy were transferred to the new ministry after having been overseen by the broader focused ministry for industry.

In announcing the results of its first round of meetings, the new ministry said that a further round of meetings is planned. They expect to explore possible synergies deriving from the provision of more plants in the same sea areas, seeking agreements between participants, and to share the status of the work with the environmental protection associations and other participants.

Work began in September 2021 for the first wind farm to be located both in Italy and the overall Mediterranean. The project which consists of 10 wind turbines is being built near Taranto harbor in southern Italy. Dutch firm Van Oord received the contract to install the monopiles and ten Ming Yang 3MW turbines for the 30 MW wind farm being developed at Renexia. 

More than 50 wind farm projects have been proposed for locations along the Italian coast, but none are currently operations and only one other beyond the Taranto project has even begun the application process. In October, a new project was proposed for the waters off Brindisi, which at 1.2GW could become Italy’s first large-scale wind farm.